Multilingual Children: Mandarin-English in Silicon Valley

Entrepreneurship is nothing new in the Silicon Valley. If it doesn’t exist, create it; and that’s exactly what Jessica has done. So many families in the Bay Area are raising multilingual kids, so, why not work together to share resources? Whether you’re exposing your children to a language not spoken in the home, or teaching them your own native language to maintain a connection with family back home; it takes a diverse village to support this mission. So you’re looking for a Mandarin Ballet class, immersion Preschool or storytime? – check out this new community group of like minded parents on Facebook!


Multilingual: Children Learning Languages

The new group’s founder Jessica told us all about it.

The San Francisco Bay Area is incredibly diverse. People come from all over the world every single day and bring with them amazing languages and cultures. When we found out we were moving here from North Carolina I was really excited about all of the cultural resources that would be available to us. Specifically, my children had been learning Spanish from our nanny and Mandarin at an immersion preschool in North Carolina (you can read more about that here. So, I was excited to continue this multilingual journey in a place where both languages were so prevalent.

When we arrived in California we put the kids in Spanish immersion preschool right away and I started looking around for opportunities to keep up with their Mandarin. Surprisingly I didn’t find what I wanted right away. We started attending Chinese story time at the library in Los Altos, but we had a hard time finding anything beyond that for the first several months.

Eventually, I started to find some great programs through recommendations from friends and acquaintances. At this point, I officially cannot add any more Mandarin activities to my week, but I absolutely love the ones we do attend.

Multilingual: Different Culture Lego Children

I decided to create a group with the goal of (Mandarin-English Bilingual Children of Silicon Valley), creating a space where this kind of information can flow freely to anyone who is interested. I would love for this to start as a place for members to pass information, resources, etc. but eventually grow into a community where we can meet in person or even swap childcare in our native languages.

Right now, we have over 50 members each following a different path with the same intent to pass on both the Mandarin and English languages. Some members speak English, some Mandarin, and some both, but everyone is welcome!

You can find the group here.

Here is another great Facebook Group for families raising multilingual children.


Are you raising multilingual children in the Bay Area? Tell us about your experiences.

About Michelle Laker

A California native; I spent 10 years living, studying, working, (and falling in love) in the United Kingdom. I returned to the Bay Area in 2011, with my British husband in tow. I am re-adjusting to life in the bay, feeling more like an expat than a local. I have spent my career working with international student & families. I love learning about other cultures, languages, and traditions. My desire to welcome newcomers, and help you make the most of your new life in the Bay Area comes from the unforgettable memories (and mistakes) I made during my time in the United Kingdom. If you've just arrived, and don't know where to start, email me ( I am happy to help!

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